How to Avoid Recruiting Mistakes

We can all agree that recruiting is not what it used to be. The time of college coaches coming to a family’s home and explaining why they want you to play for them is long gone. The internet, more specifically social media, has changed the recruiting process forever. The good news is that 95% of recruiting is done online now, making it easier than ever for potential recruits to be reached. College coaches work hard to find the best student-athletes on the market, and it can be challenging to cut through all the noise on the internet.

To make the recruiting process easier, let’s look at some of the most common mistakes that families are making.


Not getting started soon enough.

The most incorrect phrase uttered in today’s recruiting world is, “If someone is good enough then colleges will find them.” Tell that to people like people Vincent Jackson, a multiple NFL Pro Bowler, who received only one athletic scholarship offer at the last second from Northern Colorado. How does someone this talented fly under the radar for so long?  It wasn’t due to lack of potential or academic failures, Jackson had academic honors and over a 4.0 GPA.  Jackson, like many prospects, made the mistake of not taking the recruiting process serious until senior year.

Many parents are under the assumption that recruiting doesn’t begin until their child’s senior year. Sometimes parents will tell me “My kid is only a freshman (or sophomore),” as if college coaches aren’t looking at underclassman. The truth is, colleges can start sending out general information to families as soon as freshman year.  There are rules in place to limit when college coaches can reach out to contact players directly, but it doesn’t mean they are not watching. According to studies done by the NCAA, 85% of Division 1 prospects are identified by their sophomore year. However, year-after-year parents wait until the last second to finally reach out and get exposure for their child.  I talk to parents daily that think someone else is going to help their child get recruited, which leads to the next common mistake.


Expecting the high school or club team coaches to get them recruited

“It’s my high school coaches job to get my child recruited.” This is a logical assumption. Coaches are invested in your child’s athletic and academic progress in high school, making it easier to assume they are getting your child to that next level, right? Well… not really, for several reasons. Not all coaches have the same level of enthusiasm for their players’ future. On a regular basis, I hear a large fraction of parents say, “THE COACHES AREN’T HELPING AT ALL!” (Add frustrated tone of voice). For the families in this similar situation, you can relate to this.


High school coaches are well connected with college coaches.

For all I know, your child’s high school coach plays golf with Nick Saban and vacations with Geno Auriemma. Not only are these scenarios highly unlikely, it is uncommon that high school coaches have many college contacts. There are over 900 college football programs, 1,200 men’s soccer programs, 1,500 women’s soccer programs, about 1,700 baseball and softball programs, and almost 2,000 men and women basketball programs each. On top of that, college coaching jobs have extremely high turnover.


Waiting for colleges to contact your child.

Every year there is another university facing charges of recruiting violations. There are recruiting regulations in place to prevent schools from overwhelming students with continuous contact, but there is nothing getting in the way of families reaching out to schools and initiating the contact themselves. The sad truth is most families I speak with haven’t reached out to anyone, nor have they considered that being a realistic option. The bottom line is, waiting for colleges to miraculously start calling is a strategy that continuously fails.


Not having film online

Having film online for coaches to see is ESSENTIAL. With the level of technology, you could film, edit, and upload to YouTube before your kid gets on the bus. Filming a shaky video that’s decent quality together isn’t ideal, but that is better than not having any film available. This is especially true for sports that don’t have a systematic measurable to evaluate players. Sports like football and baseball rely heavily on measurable like the 40-yard dash, throwing velocity, etc. Sports like basketball, soccer, and lacrosse are not as cut-and-dry when it comes to measurements. The only way to get the whole story, and show how well an athlete can read the field, is to watch these athletes play.


Now you know some of the common mistakes, what’s next?

It is totally normal to feel overwhelmed with the recruiting process. Start early by researching schools that and looking at what they offer academically and athletically.

Like previously mentioned, there are no rules for students reaching out to college coaches and initiating the contact. High schoolers should be calling coaches, sending emails, going on visits, and even writing letters. It’s important to start building relationships with coaches. This shows initiative and determination; qualities college coaches look for in athletes. Do something to make yourself stand out from the crowd. If you are ready to start creating a recruiting game plan, we would love to help you create a profile that has everything college coaches need to recruit student-athletes.